Let down by a hero

Dear JK Rowling,

For most of my life, you’ve been my hero. In fact, as a fantasy obsessed middle schooler, I worshipped you. Through your words, you created a gripping series that has touched lives of millions of children. “Harry Potter” taught me about equality— what it meant to be a Muggle-born wizard in a pureblood dominated society.

I saw myself in the characters of Harry, Ron and Hermione, the flawed but three-dimensional protagonists that taught me to stand up against injustice. Your hefty donations to charity and interview claims that Dumbledore was gay made me respect you even more.

For a while, we were happy. I reread Harry Potter once a year— even bought the $70  seven book set. I browsed Pottermore, took my Patronus quiz and found out what house I am (Hare and Hufflepuff!). I even saw “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in theatres opening weekend.

Then came “The Cursed Child.” Not only was the plot confusing, the entire book felt like you were giving in to corporate greed— the inability of an author to pass up a chance to make money at the risk of tainting childhood memories. At the time, I let it go. One flop wasn’t going to stop me from being a fan of the woman who created Hedwig.

To my dismay, the release of “The Cursed Child” was quickly followed by your refusal to remove Johnny Depp from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, despite multiple accusations of domestic abuse against him. My opinion of you only further plummeted after you liked a transphobic tweet on Twitter, and even more so after you liked yet another  transphobic tweet on Twitter.

It seems hard to believe that you’re the same person who made readers contemplate concepts of slavery through house-elves and the idea of inbreeding through pureblood wizard families. For a self-proclaimed activist who wrote a seven book fantasy series as an extended metaphor for inequality, you may have muddled your message for youth you influence.  

Saying you “imagined a character being gay when you wrote him,” but never explicitly saying it in the books or movies isn’t exactly representation. Liking tweets that diminish transgender people and consequently telling your readers that equality is only relevant when talking about murder in the wizarding world isn’t exactly respectful. And keeping Johnny Depp— whose ex-wife filed for divorce with a black eye— in the next four “Fantastic Beasts” movies isn’t exactly OK either.

Your seemingly progressive stances on Twitter don’t make up for a lack of real support for minority groups and abuse survivors. While Harry Potter will always be a fundamental part of my childhood, I’m disappointed that my childhood hero no longer represents the causes that she taught me about through the stories of Harry, Ron and Hermione.


A disappointed fan